Welcome to what it is one of the central stories in my wider Pokemon universe. I will warn people now that you are in for a long journey with this one, and the quality of this prologue, which I have recently rewritten, is on much higher than the chapters that follow, which I have not edited for quite some time. However, if you are willing to endure my older, grammarless style of writing (they will all be edited in the coming months), than I believe the journey will be worthwhile.
Prologue: Ilex ForestJanuary 02 2010
All was quiet within the forest. Another day was drawing to a close within the twisting corridors of trees. Ilex Forest was dark most of the time, as the trees stood so close together that their branches intertwined, and the leaves formed a thick canopy of green above the heads of all those who walked beneath, only thin rays of light managing to seep through. The sun had set now though, taking away all the glorious greens and rich browns of nature with it, and leaving everything in the dark. The change of light sent the hordes of Caterpie, Weedle, Metapod and Kakuna into their nests and burrows for the night, leaving the Oddish to emerge undisturbed and letting the number of Zubats and Paras' blossomed in the darkness.
All was quiet, except for the heavy breathing of one boy and his Pokémon.
Charles Golden knew he should head back to camp. It was already so dark that if it were not for the flames on his Typhlosion's neck he probably would have run into a tree by now. However, the fifteen years old was making good time with his run, and he and Typhlosion would need to be in top form if they wanted to challenge Kris any time soon. His towering starter turned to face him, a knowing look in his beady eyes, and Charles was forced to admit defeat: if Typhlosion wanted to stop, there was not a lot else he could do. He brought himself to an easy halt, and quickly realised how cold it was: his white and blue running gear was good for sprinting in, but did little to stop the icy bite of winter.
"Come on then, let's go find Lyla," Charles puffed breathlessly. Typhlosion grunted back in response, and the Eruption Pokémon lead his trainer back the way they had come, the flames providing both heat and light necessary for the journey. Charles made sure he stayed close, still uneasy about wandering about in the shadows after the things he had seen over the past few months, and he needed the flames to help fend off winter.
A tad ironic this, Charles thought sourly. I will probably be beaten by ice before I ever get the chance to do that to Lance. He was trying not to remember the battle, but as it had only happened a few weeks ago, Charles could unfortunately recall it with ease. His entire journey, from New Bark Town with Cyndaquil, rushing across all of Johto with Team Rocket hot on his tail, conquering legendaries and ending wars, had all come to nothing: within one hour, Lance had swept through his team, Charles only managing to bring down half of the Champions Pokémon. It had come down to a type disadvantage in the end, with no Ice Pokémon to aid his conquest, and Charles now had his sights set on adding one to his team, even though the Dragon trainer had currently been dethroned from his position: it was a matter of principle, and Charles was never going to let type end his dreams again – as long as he didn't spend more nights camping, that was.
The flickering light of a campfire soon emerged in the darkness of the forest, and within minutes Charles and Typhlosion were back in the clearing they had left half an hour before, the dancing yellow and orange flames warming up the circular clearing. Charles' bitter memories faded as a battered pink tent shook, and out from the flaps emerged his girlfriend.
Lyla and Charles had embarked on their gym challenges together, beginning things in New Bark Town as friends, but their relationship had blossomed since then. Standing in the clearing, with the fire making Lyla's long brown locks shine, Charles could not believe he had not fallen for her sooner.
"There you are, I was wondering where you had gone!" Lyla said chirpily as she stepped closer to the flames, her Marill bobbing on her shoulder. "We were about to come and track you down," she added, and Charles noted she was in her running gear too: white shorts with a pink stripe, white top and a hot pink jacket that glowed in the firelight.
"I think it has gotten a bit too dark for a run, we really shouldn't have left it so late in the first place," Charles said, a sly smile creeping across his face. "But if you want to work up a sweat, I have a better idea about what we could do."
"Naughty," Lyla said teasingly, but she stepped forwards and threw her arms around his neck, and Charles beamed at her before leaning in for the kiss.
"Typhlo," Typhlosion sighed deeply alongside, and Charles and Lyla both giggled but ignored him. As their drew each other closer, Charles pushed aside all thoughts of his loss and the battle ahead, simply pleased to be with his girlfriend. He knew if he hadn't lost, then he and Lyla may not have stayed together, and they certainly would not be enjoying a brand new journey together, without all the world ending chaos they had suffered through only a few months ago.
In fact, you might say that loss was the best thing that ever happened to me, Charles thought briefly.
A branch snapped behind them, and Charles thoughts died as the two trainers froze. They both knew that none of the Pokémon who roamed the forest would be capable of breaking the branches from their previous visit, and the pair had been through too much over the past months not to be suspicious. Charles broke away from his girlfriend and cast his eyes about, searching for the source, and was pleased to note Typhlosion and Marill were doing the same. "Maybe it was just an old tree?" Lyla suggested timidly after a few tense minutes of silence. Charles had scanned every tree that surrounded them, and was beginning to wonder that there may be nothing to fear after all. However, just as he turned away, a pair of big blue eyes appeared in the distance.
"THERE!" He yelled, pointing at the culprit. Typhlosion turned and fired a roaring jet of fire towards the eyes, singing several branches and blasting the owner backwards. Charles ran across the clearing before the smoke had cleared, wanting to see who was spying on them and why, but the Pokémon sensed him coming: a small shadow rose up from the ground and, after briefly looking back at him, shot off deeper into the forest.
"COME BACK!" Charles yelled, and without a second thought set off through the trees. Lyla shouted behind him, and there was a set of thundering footsteps as Typhlosion joined the pursuit, but Charles was not sure if his girlfriend was following. All he knew was that he wanted to know who had been spying: he had to make sure there was no one else with ulterior motives watching over him and Lyla, no one else waiting to ruin another of his journeys.
He kept the shadow in his sights, leaping over fallen branches and knotted roots, a flicker of flames from Typhlosion behind enough to highlight potential risks. A stitch ran up his side, and Charles wondered if his earlier run may take its toll before he caught up, but fortunately the trees were thinning and Typhlosion was closing in, and the Pokémon was losing the chase…
"STOP!" Charles bellowed as he burst out of the trees, skidding to a halt in a wide open clearing. The grass was tall and thick, the tips tickling his exposed shins, while the branches of the trees were separated enough here to allow a thick spotlight of moonlight to shine down upon them. As Typhlosion pushed his way through some bushes, Charles stepped towards the only thing that was waiting for them: a wooden shrine, almost like a tiny house on stilts, stood alone in the middle of the clearing, basking in the moonlight. It looked familiar, but as Charles tried to place it, more footsteps sounded from behind.
"You could have waited for me!" Lyla snapped crossly.
"Sorry, I couldn't lose it," Charles replied absently as he stepped towards the shrine. He could see a space in the centre of it, an open doorway presumably for the placing of sacrifices, but was just the right size for a rather small Pokémon…
"Bee Bee!" Charles jolted as something green leapt up from behind the shrine. Typhlosion growled and stepped forwards, the flames on his neck doubling in size, but Charles held a hand out to stop him, the pieces finally clicking into place in his head.
"Don't hurt it – I am pretty sure this is Celebi," he called, looking up at the Pokémon hovering above them. It looked exactly as he had imagined it: light green skin that shone in the light, the pair of bright blue eyes that had watched them from the trees, roughly the same height and size of a child but with almost translucent wings and an oversized head.
"Celebi? You mean the legendary, the one that can travel in time?" Lyla asked, staring upwards as she reached for the PokeDex she always kept in her pocket.
"It has to be – I remember when we were here last time, Tia said there was a shrine for Celebi somewhere but we never found it." The little green Pokémon nodded its seed-shaped head enthusiastically at this, and Charles smiled up at it, stunned to have stumbled across a Legendary like this.
"If that is Celebi, why was it watching us before, and why has it led us to its shrine?" Lyla asked suspiciously. "Does it want us to make a donation or something?"
"Celebi Bee!" Celebi replied, shaking its head. It pointed at Charles, and then hovered down with its hand outstretched.
"It… I… I think it wants me to come with it," Charles said, turning and looking quizzically at his girlfriend and starter. Typhlosion reared forwards, cautiously sniffing the new Pokémon, and Celebi retracted its hand.
"Bee Bee Celebi Cela Bee Celebeee!" The Legendary jabbered, its cuteness fading as it began talking ecstatically and making gestures, none of which Charles understood.
"What does it want?" Lyla wailed, coming closer with Marill in her hands, staring almost angrily at the Legendary. "I don't trust it Charles, what if this thing is a trick, what if it's something Team Rocket might have set on us!"
"Not everything comes back to them!" Charles huffed, turning to face her. "I think Celebi is just looking for a friend or something, nothing else! Besides, Team Rocket could never pull off something like this."
"Bee… Cela Cela!" Celebi suddenly cried, its eyes lighting up as if it had just found a solution to its problems, and suddenly it began to glow green. A harsh emerald glow lit up the forest, so intense that Charles had to shield his eyes, but through his squinted eyelids, he was just able to make out something like green electricity shooting out of the legendary.
"WHAT'S HAPPENING?!" Lyla yelled. The bolts shot out and touched all four of them, and suddenly they were encased in a shining sphere. Charles looked down and saw his body had turned green, his veins lighting up as the strange light passed through them, but he could not feel a single thing.
"CELAAAAAA-BEEEEE!" The Pokémon cried, and Lyla and Marill both managed one last scream before the light turned so bright it made the entire forest glow.
Then they were gone.
May 30th 2008
As soon as the green light faded, it became clear to Charles they were no longer in Ilex Forest. Spots still danced across his eyes and his body felt like it had been squeezed through a narrow hole, but otherwise they all appeared to be fine, and Charles turned his attention towards their new surroundings: they were standing on a dusty path in a wide valley, tall walls of rock and stone looming around them, while a small cluster of trees stood guardian around a field of flowing grass.
"Isn't this Route 22?" Charles called out to Lyla, who stared incredulously at him.
"Really Charles, really?" She snapped. "We just got kidnapped and sent through time by a Legendary, and you're interested in what route we are on?"
"Well, if we know what route we are on then we might understand why we are here," Charles retorted. He looked down at his watch but was dismayed to see that it was no longer working, call the numbers frozen on zero. The scope of the situation was starting to settle in now, and he looked up at Celebi, who was gazing around the route as if trying to find someone.
"Where and when have you taken us and why?" Charles asked, making Celebi turned around. The Grass type began jabbering again and pointing down the route, but it still made no sense; Charles even looked at Typhlosion for help and he simply shrugged. Confused, Charles was tempted to ask if they could be taken home, when voices suddenly echoed down the route. "Quick, over here," he whispered, and the five moved behind a boulder a few metres away. Charles poked his head around, and could see two figures walking towards them. One was concealed by a dark trench coat and a wide brimmed hat, while their companion was shorter, with messy red hair and a pale, unfriendly face that was all too familiar to Charles.
"I think that's Silver," Charles whispered to Lyla. She peered around the boulder and uneasily nodded back, clearly wondering as well why Celebi had brought them to face their rival.
"But who is the man in the trench coat; I have never seen him before?" She asked. Celebi looked excited and began jabbering again, but they didn't understand a word. Charles instead turned his attention towards the conversation between Silver and his companion, which was getting louder and angrier.
"I don't care what you want me to do!" Silver yelled. "I want to finally start my journey, not get sucked into your stupid plans!"
"Silver, I am your father and I know what is best for you," the man in the trench coat snapped, and Lyla gasped. "Once my plans have begun, you will never need to go on a journey, I can provide you with any Pokémon you desire, and –"
"No, I don't want hand-outs!" Silver roared. "I am going to go to Professor Elm's and I am going to get my starter, and I will be Champion without your help!" His father remained still for a minute, and for some reason Charles expected the mysterious man to get violent. However, he simply shook his head in disappointment and turned away.
"Goodbye then, Silver," the man said simply, and he walked east towards what Charles presumed was Viridian. Silver watched him leave in silence, apparently too stunned by the sudden departure, but after a few minutes turned and headed in the opposite direction.
"I didn't know Silver had any family," Lyla whispered once their future rival had gone.
"Everyone has a family," Charles said quietly, and Lyla looked ashamed. "I do want to know who his father is, and why Celebi wanted us to see this." He looked up at the time traveler, who was clearly dismayed by their reaction, and almost sighed before glowing green once more.
"What do you want from us, why can't you just explain that?" Lyla growled, pulling a frightened Marill in closer, but Celebi did not respond, and Charles merely braced himself for teleportation, hoping this next trip went better.
April 23rd 2009
They arrived on a cliff in the middle of a storm. Startled by the sudden change, Charles gazed down at the setting below. They were by the sea, the water churning and frothing in the wind, a thick grey sheet of rain disappearing into the waters. A strip of grass below was nearly invisible in the storm, while a cascading waterfall to his right was being blown into his face by the gale force wind. He could not be sure, but Charles had a feeling he had been in this storm before, just in a completely different location…
"This looks like the Tohjo Falls if you ask me," Lyla yelled, her demeanour conveying her annoyance while a curiosity lingered in her eyes. Charles figured she was right, and he stood close to Typhlosion for warmth as they looked at Celebi for guidance. The Legendary pointed inside a cave, and the quarter peered inside. A man sat alone in there with his back to them, staring intently at a portable radio relaying a familiar message.
"That's the message Archer sent out, isn't it?" Lyla asked, and Charles nodded with a heavy heart as those fateful events came rushing back to him: hadn't Team Rocket been trying to get in contact with their missing leader?
"Ma Marill," Marill said, and pointed excitedly at a black coat lying on the floor.
"Ssssh!" Lyla growled, but unfortunately, she was louder than her Pokémon. Charles tried to drag his girlfriend backwards, but the mysterious man turned around, a wide brimmed hat clasped in his hands.
"I have had enough of irritating, overly eager trainers to last a lifetime, so I recommend you leave now unless you want to be punished," Silver's father snarled.
"Not until we know who you are and why you're listening to Team Rocket's message," Lyla retorted. The man's face was hidden in shadow, but Charles could tell it would not look happy, the man's hands clenching around his hat. Before he could act though, Celebi flew into the cave, its tiny fists bunched up, and the man suddenly smiled.
"Ah... the elusive Celebi," he smirked. "I have had task forces looking for you for many years now, but after I leave that all behind, you decide to find me instead…" He stepped forwards into the light, his ruggedly handsome face and dark brown hair finally coming into view, and his bright white teeth were bared as he reached towards the Legendary. Charles stepped forwards and pushed Celebi aside, reaching into his pockets for his PokeBalls.
"You never answered my girlfriend's questions," he snarled, standing tall and staring angrily into the steely eyes of his rival's father. "Who are you and why are you listening to that message?" The man looked down at Charles as though he was something disgusting blown in by the storm, but then his face spread into a smile; not one of joy, but something cruel and ill-intentioned, and Charles tightened the grip on his PokeBalls.
"I do not know who you are, child, but you certainly have the air of the trio of foul, like minded children who meddled in my last plans," the man hissed through his smile. "I was hoping to remain here in peace until the storm lessened, but if you eager little shits want to get in my way, it seems I may just have to sort you out." His hand dived into a pocket of his suit, but Charles had seen it coming and quickly threw one of his PokeBalls. The man jumped backwards as dark green energy filled the cave, and suddenly a Pokemon formed between them: the creature towered above Silver's father, turquoise wings flapping, muscles bulging beneath tight orange skin, and the Pokemon let out a roar so loud it silenced the storm.
"If you even think about hurting us, I will set Typhlosion, Dragonite and every other Pokemon I have on you!" Charles snapped, and he held out a tiny purple and white capsule with a distinctive M across the top. "Trust me; you don't want to meet who I have inside of this." Silence filled the cave, all except for the howling wind and thundering rain outside, and Charles did his best to stare down the mysterious man: Celebi had to have brought them here for a reason, and he was not leaving until he knew why that was. Silver's father was well built and tall, dressed in a fine three piece suit despite the location and the weather, the costume possibly to help generate images of power and sophistication in the mind of his foes, but Charles would not be intimidated. He had fought plenty of people like him over the past year, and he was not going to let another one get in his way.
"A Master Ball – oh, how I have longed to find a Pokemon worthy of being put inside one of those," the man said at last, staring first at the purple capsule and then looking up at Charles. "I came so close to using them last year… so close, in fact, that I really would love to see what you captured." And before Charles could even register the shock, the man pulled a gun from his pocket and fired it. Lyla screamed, and Charles felt something slam into him, the force strong enough it made the Master Ball slip from his grip. He expected pain, he expected blood, but when Charles looked down, he found no entry wound – not in his body, at least.
"Bee… Celebi…," Celebi whispered around his midriff, staring down with big blue eyes at the circular hole in its chest, thick green liquid seeping out. Everyone was staring at the wounded Legendary, even Silver's father, whose proud and angry face had sunk as he realised what he had done. Charles held Celebi in his arms, stunned and disgusted by this change of events, and at his touch Celebi stared up at him, its eyes fill of worry.
"BEEEEE!" It yelled suddenly, and its body began to glow green. The light was blinding in the close confines of the cave, and Charles had to let go as more green electricity coursed through his body. He looked fearfully around at his Pokemon and Lyla, wondering where they were going next, but realised all too late that none of them were glowing…
"DRAGAAAAAA!" Everyone rushed towards him, hands outstretched with thoughts of pulling him back from Celebi's powers, but already to Charles they were fading away, his body constricting and becoming weak, his vision blurring and going green. He flung his own hand out, staring at the looks of horror on each of their faces, and his eyes briefly looked down at the Master Ball lying in the corner: Lugia… no…
And with a blinding flash, he was gone.
Somewhere in the Space-Time Continuum
Charles could not stop yelling. This journey through time and space was taking longer this time, his entire body swirling and spinning through an endless green vortex. It felt as though his body was caught between two heavy weights, and Charles was certain a rib was going to crack. He couldn't breathe, a breath caught in his throat, and his head felt like it was turning in the opposite direction. Charles tried to find Celebi, he tried to call out to Lyla and Typhlosion, but there was nothing he could do.
Then, as suddenly it had begun, the green instantly faded and Charles was spat back out into the real world. There was no storm here: the moon and stars were exposed by a cloudless night, the sky black and inky. Charles desperately gulped for air, trying to focus on something so his mind would stop spinning. He felt a strong current, and his stomach was twisting as though he was falling. But that's ridiculous, Charles thought, until he looked down: there was a still, unmoving lake, bordered by a forest and an open green field, but that was about one hundred metres below his feet, though it was rapidly coming towards him.
Charles began screaming again as he hurtled towards the lake. He had only three PokeBalls left, and desperately he reached for the one that could still save him.
"Gyarados, GO!" He yelled as he threw it upwards. The ball burst open with a flash of red light and a number of golden stars, and a glowing red sea serpent formed in the skies. Gyarados roared and dived down after his trainer, but Charles knew it would be too late, his body getting closer and closer. He could see some figures standing on the edge, and there was a flash as one of them released their own Pokemon, but by that time Charles was inches from the surface. He braced for impact as he felt Gyarados' warm breath wash over him and Charles' last thought before he hit the lake and blacked out was of Lyla, Typhlosion, Dragonite and the dying Celebi he had left behind in the cave, wondering if he would ever see them again.